Log in Royce and Sandra Watkins Blog
  • February, 2014 Update

    02.28.14 No Comments

    February, 2014 Update:

    February is usually the hottest month of the year in Uganda.  Thankfully, that has not been the case until this week.  Most nights, we are sleeping in temperatures in the 80’s, and the fan makes it very comfortable.  However, today it reached 113, and it is the peak of the dry season.  We’ve had no rain, and living on the main road between Gulu and Kitgum makes for a perpetual cloud of dust.  When we moved (“shifted” as they say here) to a house on Kitgum Road last October during the rainy season, we did not think about living on a busy dirt road in the dry season.  Even normal traffic like cars, SUVs and bodas (motorcycles) produces a lot of dust, but the buses and big trucks create a dust storm on our house. We must keep our windows open due to the heat, and EVERYTHING

    Read More
  • January 2014 Update

    01.31.14 No Comments

    Sandra and I had a wonderful two months with family and friends through Thanksgiving and Christmas. The majority of our time was spent with Jim, Amy, Fisher, Jude, Tripp and Levi but had time for some great fellowship and meals with many of our closest friends. We also attended a couple of Four Corners Ministries’ meetings and enjoyed our Texas Watkins family coming to Alabama for a few days after Christmas. We also got to meet with two terrific families that are praying about serving God in missions….possibly with us in Gulu. All in all it was a wonderful and restful time of sabbatical in the good old USA with the exception of experiencing the difficult loss of a long-time friend from Bossier City, LA. We lived by Phil and Pam Haley for many years. Each of us lived on three or four acres of land that joined one

    Read More
  • October, 2013 Update

    10.31.13 No Comments

     

    October, 2013 Update:

    O.K., I’ll admit it!  There are times I put on a happy face for the world around me and pretend that everything is fine when it is not.  Far too often, I allow Satan to rob me of the joy I have in Christ with circumstances he puts in my path.  There are times I just cannot relate to Paul who said in Philippians 4:11-12, “I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”  I know so often that I am weak in my faith.  I know spiritual warfare is real and “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this

    Read More
  • September, 2013 Update

    10.01.13 No Comments

     

    On September 18, 2013, Uganda’s Leading Daily Newspaper had this article:

     

    Gulu Choking On Her People—Gulu town could as well suffocate from the stench of it own sewage.  This is a town characterized by the absence of consistent clean water supply, a poor drainage system with sewers bursting, spilling their content on the streets.  According to information from the senior assistant town clerk, human waste is managed mainly through septic tanks or a functional sewage system.  However, only approximately 30% of the population is connected to the central sewer.

     

    The roads in the town that connect the four divisions and lead to villages are in a sorry state.  With the exception of a few tarmac roads in the town center, most roads are gravel.  And yet, the tarmac roads are partly eaten up by potholes the size of gullies.  It is a nightmare when it rains.  

     

    The latest Vision

    Read More
  • August Update

    08.31.13 No Comments

     

    August was the best month we’ve experienced in Gulu, Uganda!  We were blessed to have our family here from late July through the first two weeks of this month.  The West family has settled into their house and the work at Abaana’s Hope.  The Barbrey family arrived and both Chase and Kimmey have already made an impact on our mission here.  If that were not enough, friends from Alabama made up the visiting August Mission Team.  Three couples on this team are from our small group at The Church at Brook Hills—Marty and Joan Elder, Ben and Carole Smith and Chuck and Pat Wallis.  We also had Natalie Kelly, Thor Burk and Sarah Skipper, the wife of Four Corners Ministries President, Tripp Skipper.  Their 6-year old daughter, Anna, came with her Mom and our youngest grandson, Levi, and Anna hit it off.  Tripp saw several pictures of them together

    Read More
  • July Update

    07.31.13 No Comments

    The beginning of July brought the much-needed rains we’ve lacked for our crops and the newly planted grass on the football (soccer) field and playground.  As I mentioned in the June Update, God’s tank was much bigger than ours.  We received just enough rain in June to keep things alive and the July rains are helping them to thrive.  Farming is fun!  Sandra and I have had a few home gardens through the years but nothing on the scale of Abaana’s Hope farming.  The largest garden we’ve ever planted was probably less than 2 acres and we had both a tiller and a tractor with implements.  All the cultivation done (about 40 acres) on Abaana’s Hope property is done with a hoe.  Of course, we have about 44 agriculture workers on the end of those hoes.  There is a man in downtown Gulu who loves to see me come

    Read More
  • June Update

    06.30.13 No Comments

    The month of June started out very dry (which is unusual for May-June).  Our crops and newly planted grass on the football field and playground needed rain desperately.  A couple of our guys came up with an idea to irrigate our grass from a tank on the back of our Canter, attached by pipe to a metal bar with watering holes drilled in it.  The idea actually worked better than I thought it would, but the tank is just too small to go very far and we must refill it with Jeri cans, which is extremely time-consuming.  We know God’s tank is not too small and began praying for rain as a group.

    photo-57

    Our Monthly Updates are always accompanied by an additional attachment to our “Family and Friends” group list of about 160 people.  This attachment is not included on the

    Read More
  • May Update

    05.31.13 2 Comments

    The first couple of days of May brought our first illness since we’ve been in Uganda.  I had fever, chills, achy joints, throwing up and another symptom that I’ll just say will probably bring us a record water bill.  Since we are taking Lariam for malaria, I thought I had the flu.  Then we were told that one could get malaria even while taking the preventative medicine, so I started taking the three-day malaria treatment.  The next morning, I felt no better so we went to the international clinic where most muzungus go.  They ran various lab tests—blood, stool, urine and told me I had a bacterial infection, probably from something I ate.  This was a surprise diagnosis since we are very careful what we eat and how our food is prepared at home.  This doctor visit, including lab work and pharmacy meds, total cost was 25,000 shillings (about

    Read More
  • April Update

    04.30.13 No Comments

    The first week of April brought us rain, welcomed cooler weather and our third wedding in Gulu.  This couple is friends that help us with the Sunday afternoon Bible study at Abaana’s Hope (AH).  Dennis often leads the adults while Harriet leads the children’s Bible story.  I’ve shared with you that weddings here are long, but this one was a 12-hour time investment for me!  I started out at 9:00 a.m. going out to AH to bring six of the men who attend the Sunday worship to the wedding, went back home, picked up Sandra and Christine (she doesn’t miss a wedding) then went back to the church building.  Some of you may be wondering, “What about Lillian?”  She was a bridesmaid.  She and the other bridesmaid wore matching purple dresses with white trim.  Sandra helped Lillian get hers; and the material, seamstress and shoes total cost was $15. 

    Read More
  • March Update

    03.31.13 2 Comments

    “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”  Not in Gulu, Uganda!  March comes in hot and goes out hot here, typically.  March is the latter part of the dry season.  Since Gulu is so close to the equator and basically a tropical climate, there are only two seasons—wet season and dry season.  Over this last week of March, we have had some rain and cooler temperatures.  I never thought I would look forward to driving in the mud; but in this area, the cooler temperatures the rain brings are most welcomed.  We have a bedside clock in our room that shows the temperature in Fahrenheit.  For most of March, we were sleeping in a bedroom that was in the 90s.  We do not have air conditioning; but fortunately, we own fans!  We have a fan on a stand that sits at the foot of

    Read More